Meeting Calendar

We meet the second Monday of each month (please note exceptions), September through June, at Center Congregational Church, 11 Center Street, Manchester, CT. Meetings begin at 7:00 pm (doors open 6:45 pm). Parking is next door behind the Manchester Town Hall. We welcome guest attendance.

SEPTEMBER 10, 2018
Alina Ciscel: A Guide to a Four Season Garden
This presentation will discuss perennials and shrubs that combine well in different seasons. Alina will talk about how flowers, foliage color, and texture, as well as fragrance are combined to achieve a year round interest in the garden. She will also touch upon how to use spent flowers and woody plants to create garden art.

Alina Ciscel is an Associate Professor and ESL Program Coordinator at Manchester Community College. She holds an M.A. in linguistics from the University of South Carolina and a certificate in Landscape Design from Naugatuck Valley Community College, and is the owner of West End Blooms where she works summers as a garden coach and a landscape designer.

OCTOBER 15, 2018
Elaine Naczkowski: Winter Seed Sowing
Elaine explains that "In December, January and February I always looked forward to the seed catalogs that come … and plan what new I will try when planting time comes around. This year was going to be different. Wouldn’t it be fun to do some planting right now? Would they survive the cold and snow? This is winter seed sowing."

Elaine is a former Club member. As a registered nurse, she worked in the surgical, stepdown, and special care units at St. Francis Hospital. When she had children she moved on to the school system, better known as a mini ER with no equipment but lots of backup. In 2007, she was accepted in the Master Garden program at UConn and became a Master Gardener.

NOVEMBER 12, 2018
Nancy DuBrule-Clemente: Old Wood, New Wood - A Pruning Primer
Learn the reasons for pruning shrubs at different times of the year. Understand the natural habit of a plant, how to prune to generate abundant flowers and fruit on new wood as well as how to deal with dead or diseased growth.

Nancy has a degree in Floriculture from UConn. She started Natureworks in 1983 with $500 in her pocket and a bright gold Datsun pickup truck, and ran Natureworks out of an abandoned gas station until 1990 when she purchased the property in Northford. It was a private home which she converted to a garden center and retail store. Natureworks now has over 25 employees. Nancy has authored two books, and writes for local and national publications, as well as teaching many classes throughout Connecticut.

DECEMBER 10, 2018
Holiday Party

JANUARY 14, 2019
Chrissie and John D'Esopo: Chrissie and John D’Esopo's Wild and Wooly Conifer World - Four Seasons of a Creative Botanical Wonderland
Chrissie tells entertaining garden stories followed by a 30 minute slide show set to lively Beatle's music. The program is concluded with Q&A session.

Chrissie and John have been gardening at their Avon home for over thirty years. It has been an evolution from the beginning gardens of annuals and perennials to the extraordinary new look of conifers, topiaries, and rare shrubs with the addition of "in your face" enormous annuals!

FEBRUARY 11, 2019
Richard Howard: Daylilies 101
Rich will talk about different kinds of daylilies and their attributes, how to hybridize your own varieties, and will show many images of newer cutting edge cultivars.

Richard Howard is a retired civil engineer, past president of the Connecticut Daylily Society, and a master gardener. He resides in Wallingford, in growing zone 6. His two acre home has many perennial beds (mostly daylilies), a greenhouse, and about 4,000 pots of daylilies. He grows about 1,500 different named varieties of daylilies as well as other perennials and some unusual annuals. Rich has been hybridizing daylilies for 15 years and has introduced over 80 of his own creations into commerce. He currently has several thousand of his own seedlings in various beds throughout his yard.  

Rich sells from his web site and on the Lily auction ( under the handle "rich". Many of his auction sales are for seeds. He operates an AHS approved display garden and his web site is

MARCH 11, 2019
Cathy Ritch: Cute, Classic and Creative, a Design for Every Lifestyle
Learn several easy floral designs that you can do at home for little time and expense. Incorporated into the talk will be the Principles and Elements of Design, mechanics, and leaf manipulation. The final designs will be raffled off at the end of the talk.

Cathy Ritch is a lifelong gardener and lover of flowers. In the late 70s she began her study of floral design with Ikebana classes while living in Japan for a year with her husband. In the 80s, she gardened for hire and learned more about plant material. In the 90s, she was able to spend time learning about Creative Floral Design by attending Flower Show School and creating floral designs with the Creative Arrangers of CT. She became an NGC Accredited Judge in 2014. Her designs have won blue ribbons and top NGC design awards at several CT flower shows and been published in the NGC Vision of Beauty Calendar. She has exhibited at the New Britain Museum of American Art's "Floral Expressions".

Cathy has been the CT State Flower Show Chair for the past three years, as well as conceiving, coordinating and teaching workshops at the Beyond Beginning Floral Design classes sponsored by Judges Council of Federated Garden Clubs of CT.

APRIL 8, 2019
Barb Scala: Garden to Table - Edible Gardens & More!
As a Master Gardener and Director of the CT Farm & Food Guide, Barb is dedicated to spreading the word about the importance of garden-fresh foods. In her presentation Barb will talk about organic and seasonal gardening, nutrient dense foods, and edible landscapes, including a surprising look at edible flowers and weeds.

Barb Scala has a law degree from Quinnipiac University, and dealing with the stresses in the life of an attorney led her to a commitment to wellness, healthy living, and the environment. She also is the co-author of Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life, and she is a Transition Coach. Barb is a Master Gardener, Director of the CT Farm & Food Guide, and member of the New Haven Food Policy Council. She lives and gardens on the Connecticut Shoreline.

MAY 13, 2019
John Himmelman: Insects & Their Amazingosity!
It's tough being a bug. Scores of other animals want to eat you. The cold is your mortal enemy. No matter how tiny you are, you need to find others of your kind in this great big world. And you have very little time in which to accomplish what you need to in your brief journey on this planet. But these hardships have made the insects very good at what they do. This presentation will give insight into the remarkable adaptations these creatures have developed in order to survive. Hear stories of dragonflies and bumblebees; butterflies and dung beetles. What's the difference between a bee and a wasp - who has the worst sting? Why are there ladybugs all over my house? ...And answers to questions you didn't know you had.

John Himmelman is an author, illustrator, naturalist, and lecturer.  He is a co-founder of the CT Butterfly Association, and past president of the New Haven Bird Club, The Nature Connection, and the Killingworth Land Trust. He has lectured and led numerous trips in search of various flora and fauna throughout the country for over 25 years. Himmelman has written and illustrated over 80 books for adults and children on a wide variety of natural history subjects. Books may be available for purchase and signing on the date of the visit.

JUNE 10, 2019
Members' Year-End Party